Pie is a delicious dessert, that is great at every time of year. It’s the ultimate holiday dessert dish, but it’s also a delightful treat when you have fresh fruits or just want something sweet. We can most likely agree that pie is the best.
Whether you make pies ahead and freeze them or buy pies that come frozen, there is a steady art to thawing and defrosting the pie prior to heating (or in some cases reheating).
It’s not overly challenging to thaw and defrost pie but it’s good to know the tips and secrets so that your frozen pie becomes a delicious defrosted pie.
So how do you thaw and defrost pie? That’s why we’re here!
From chocolate to cherry to apple to whatever other types of pie you might be working with there are simple steps to follow to ensure that when you thaw and defrost your pie, it won’t become soggy or taste like it’s not fresh.
We’ve put together an ultimate guide for you that will walk you through thawing and defrosting pie as well as reheating your pie.
If there are any special steps you need to know for certain types of pies or any specific trips for thawing, this is where you will find them!
Keep reading to get one step closer to having the most amazing pie ready to go!
The Pie Guide
If you’re reading this article, chances are you are familiar with pie and the types of pie, but maybe you’re really not.
Pie can be made with just about any type of filling. Pies commonly have fruits in them but then there are pies that have pudding instead. There is even shepherd’s pie that is commonly used as the main course dish for dinner.
We’re not going to be covering shepherd’s pie in this article. Our tips and secrets will be related to baking pies that are typically served as dessert dishes.
Many of the things we share here will be able to be used universally across the span of all of these dessert pies.
Here is a list of different types of pies, to give you an idea of how broad the category of pies is. Keep in mind that this list may not include every type of pie there is.
- Cherry Pie
- Pumpkin Pie
- Pecan Pie
- Peanut Butter Pie
- Chocolate Pudding Pie
- Apple Pie
- Lemon Meringue Pie
- Key Lime Pie
- Berry Pies
- Coconut Cream
- Banana Cream
Many of these pies have numerous compilations and types within that category itself. There are also filled pies (like pecan pie) and fruit pies as well as pudding pies. Honestly, the list could be endless but this gives you a basic idea of how broad the pie category really is.
Homemade pie is the best pie available. It’s so fresh and just always has that home-cooked flavor that many people love and enjoy. Homemade pie can be time-consuming to make, depending on how much you make from scratch.
Many homemade pies also require making a crust. There are 2-crust pies that have the base crust and then the filling covered by a top layer of crust. (If you make a top layer, don’t forget to brush it with a pastry brush like this one!)
There are also pies that simply have the base crust and then the fillings and toppings with no crust cover. This can be based on preference or could vary by the type of pie.
Homemade pies can be prepped ahead and frozen to conserve time in your busy schedule. You can also fully make and bake your pie and then freeze the remaining slices to thaw and defrost for use at a later date.
Store-bought pie comes in 2 basic categories—frozen or pre-made. If you buy the frozen pie you can toss it in your home freezer and then defrost and thaw when you are ready to use it.
You don’t have to worry about the mess of making it at home and the pies are typically quite delicious.
If you purchase a pre-made pie from the store, it is often fully cooked and ready to serve. However, you can plan ahead and freeze that pie if you don’t need it or aren’t ready to use it or serve it right away.
No matter whether you are using a store-bought pie or a homemade pie, they all freeze well and they can all be defrosted and thawed for future use. The process for defrosting and thawing is fairly simple but it does take time to thaw and defrost properly.
If you do not thaw and defrost properly, you may experience alterations in the pie during reheating or serving. Not all pies are required to be heated after freezing, this varies based on the type of pie.
Right now, it may seem like this could be complicated because you’re probably wondering “How do I keep track of which pie has to be heated and which can just be thawed?”
Don’t worry, in this guide, we will make sure you have all of the pertinent details to fully understand the thawing and defrosting process.
Prep and Baking
When you’re making a pie from scratch, prep is quite different than if you purchase a pie that is already made but overall it’s the same concept.
For the purposes of this article, we are going to discuss most of our steps with the understanding that the pie has already been made.
This does not necessarily mean it’s been baked, just that it has been pieced together and is ready for whatever the next step from there might be, regardless of whether you purchased a store-bought pie or whether you compiled the pie at home.
Our primary focus is thawing and defrosting the pie, but the intention is that this ultimate guide covers the basic details as well.
In order to do that, we feel it is important to give you the information surrounding the thawing and defrosting of your pie – including preparation and baking.
If you plan to use a pie that has been frozen for an event or a dessert, it is best if you are able to plan ahead. The best turnout happens when you allow appropriate time for thawing the pie.
A pie could potentially be defrosted in the microwave or even utilizing the oven, but we highly recommend that you make the effort to allow adequate time to do it properly for the best results.
When the pie has been fully thawed and defrosted, you may bake your pie as necessary.
A store-bought pie will most likely have heating instructions for you to follow, even if it is pre-made and then frozen.
However, if it does not keep in mind you are mostly baking to heat and not baking to cook.
Your Ultimate Guide to Thawing and Defrosting Pie
Don’t try to side-step the planning phase where you don’t take the time to thaw or defrost your pie. This is an important element of making sure your pie turns out delicious when you serve it.
Whether you are serving slices of pie that were leftover and frozen or you are preparing to serve a pre-made frozen pie or a homemade frozen pie there are steps that you should follow and it does take time to adequately thaw and defrost your pie.
If you’re going to use a pie for whatever reason and it’s been frozen, take the time and make the effort to just do things correctly.
We promise you will thank us later, and so will your guests or whoever might be enjoying that delicious pie when you serve it!
We will share with you a defrosting method that is a quick fix if you need something and don’t have several hours for thawing time.
This is your ultimate guide to thawing and defrosting pie to ensure the best results when you do so. Let’s start by covering some pros and cons of freezing and then thawing and defrosting pie.
Pros to Freezing, Thawing, and Defrosting Pie
- Make pie ahead to get the mess and compilation out of the way, then freeze and pull out for use at your convenience!
- A simple fix when you need that unexpected dessert
- A relatively simple process that you really can’t mess up
- More than one method, including a full thawing process or a quicker, defrost process when needed
- The pie will taste like it’s fresh from the oven and made the same day
- Pies preserve well in the freezer and the ingredients will still taste and look great
Cons to Freezing, Thawing, and Defrosting Pie
- It does take some time to thaw and/or defrost your pie properly, even with the quicker defrost method we provide later in this article.
- If you do not thaw or defrost well, you may end up with a soggy pie.
- Pie could become stale or mushy if steps are not considered properly.
- If you’re not careful with storage methods, you can cause the pie to crumble or break during freezing.
Now that we’ve covered some of the basic information and what you can expect from the process of freezing, thawing, and defrosting your pie let’s get down to business and discuss the overall process of thawing and defrosting your pie!
Keep in mind that you can freeze a store-bought pie. Many of them come frozen, but you can also freeze the pre-made pies that you buy from a bakery or grocery store.
These procedures and details will reference steps as though you are working with a fresh pie. If you purchase a frozen pie, you may skip this section as it would not apply.
When freezing a pie, it is recommended that you freeze a pie that has not yet been baked. However, you can freeze a pie that has already been cooked. The reason for this is that freezing a fresh pie will produce the most fresh-tasting results in the end.
Here are the steps for freezing your pie:
- If your pie was baked, be sure you allow it to cool fully prior to freezing.
- Wrap the pie tightly in plastic wrap or seal into an airtight freezer bag.
- If you prefer, you may wrap the pie tightly in a double layer of aluminum foil. Plastic wrap is recommended because it seems to prevent freezer burn and better seal the pie in.
- Freeze pies for 6 months or fewer for best results.
- A fresh pie may take up to 24 hours to fully freeze
Freezing is a simple step. The most important aspect of freezing your pie to remember is to wrap it in an airtight manner to maintain its freshness. Also, keep in mind that you want to make sure you are freezing a pie that is fully cool and not warm from baking.
In-Depth Instructions for Thawing and Defrosting Pie
Pies freeze so well, allowing you to bake ahead of time and have pies in your freezer for when you might need something for events, holidays, or a tasty dessert at a later time. Holidays specifically can be such a busy time, making it challenging to fit in baking time.
Make your pies ahead during downtime, pop them in the freezer, and that brings you here to your guide for thawing and defrosting the pie so that you can serve it. When you serve it, no one will even know that you made it 3 months ago!
Your pie will taste like you made it fresh and slaved over it for hours in the kitchen! Let’s be honest, you most likely did, it just wasn’t the same day. We’re quite sure you will be pleased with just how simple it is to thaw and defrost your pie.
We are going to describe thawing and defrosting your pie in 2 separate methods. You may choose which method will work best for you.
These methods allow you to thaw and defrost your pies and turn out delicious pies in whatever time frame will work best for you.
Option 1: Thawing & Defrosting
This particular option takes a bit of pre-planning because you will be allowing your pie to fully thaw on its own rather than jump-starting the process. If you choose to use this option, make your plans at least 24 hours in advance to allow the process to work properly as you go.
- Remove the pie from the freezer.
- Place in the fridge and allow the pie to thaw overnight or about 6-8 hours, leaving the pie wrapped.
- Alternatively, you can set the pie out to thaw on the counter for 3-5 hours. Be careful not to leave it overnight as you don’t want any of your ingredients to go bad.
- Unwrap the pie from plastic wrap or remove it from the freezer bag.
- If the pie does not require heating, it is ready to serve.
- If the pie requires heating, pre-heat your oven to 300 degrees and bake on a baking sheet for about 30 minutes or until the pie is warmed through and the crust is golden brown.
This method can be used universally with any size of the pie. There are some pies that are served cool or at room temperature, such as various cream pies.
These pies will not need to be baked in the oven. You can simply follow the thawing instructions and proceed with serving.
Be sure to store your pie in the refrigerator if there is any pie remaining after serving. Your pie will remain fresh in the fridge for 5-6 days if covered properly.
Option 2: Thawing & Defrosting
If you forgot to plan ahead or determined on short notice that you need a dessert and you’ve decided to pull that pie from the freezer, this option is for you! You can also use this option if you simply don’t want to worry about thawing times.
This is your quick go-to option when you’re in a pinch. This method does not work for pies that do not require or use heat before serving. Unfortunately, the only option for that type of pie is to wait out the thawing time.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Unwrap the pie or remove it from the freezer bag.
- If your pie has accumulated any frost during freeze time, be sure to brush that off to avoid extra moisture in your crust. You should be able to lightly wipe the frost away with your hand or dab it with a paper towel.
- Place the pie on a baking sheet and place into your oven.
- Cooking times may vary based on the size and filling of your pie. For instance, 5-inch pies require 20-30 minutes of baking time while 10-inch pies require 50-70 minutes of baking time.
- You can check the pie temperature by inserting a knife or fork into the center and then pulling it out. Test the heat of the filling on your utensil. When it is warm through the center, your pie is ready.
- Allow the pie to cool slightly before serving.
As you can see from the information provided in this guide, defrosting and thawing your pie is a fairly simple process. The primary concerns you will want to watch for are extra moisture in the crust and proper time allowance.
Understand that working with frozen pie is typically not a “grab it and go” type of option. You will need a minimum of a couple of hours to ensure your pie is fully thawed and defrosted and ready to serve.
Each of these methods affords you the option to choose what will work best for you. When considering your pie options, keep in mind that if you are using a pie that does not need to be heated for serving, you will need to allow the full thawing procedure detailed in Option 1.
We hope this ultimate guide to thawing and defrosting your pie has been both useful and informative and that you now feel prepared to tackle any pie situation. Don’t be afraid to make your pies ahead of time to avoid the stress that comes with the process on a busy schedule.
We are confident that by planning and following the steps we’ve provided for you in this guide your pie will be delicious and everyone’s stomachs will thank us later!
We invite you to take a look at the common questions that we have listed below. We hope this will clear up any further concerns or questions that you may have regarding thawing and defrosting pie.
Do Certain Pies Freeze Better than Others?
Most pies are freeze-worthy and will thaw and defrost with no issues. If your pie is a custard-type pie or a crumble-top pie, you may have varied results. These pies can still be frozen and then thawed and defrosted but they are best when served fresh.
Also, be mindful of pies with meringue topping. The ingredients in meringue can sometimes separate when freezing. However, if you store the pie so that the wrapping is not sticking to the topping, it will produce better-freezing results and is less likely to separate.
Should I Freeze My Pie in a Specific Type of Pie Dish?
We recommend using an aluminum pie dish for freezing your pie. The aluminum stores well and will not break in the freezer. It can be transferred directly to the oven without switching dishes as well.
We highly recommend that you do not utilize a glass pie dish for freezer storage. This could cause the dish to shatter when it is placed into the oven, but the pie dish is also subject to the harsh freezer environment which is not ideal for glass.
If My Pie Has Already Been Cooked, Do I Have to Cook It Again?
If you chose to freeze a pie that had already been baked, do not worry. You can follow the same guidelines that were provided above for thawing and defrosting as well as reheating the pie. Understand that you are not cooking the pie a second time, you are simply reheating the pie to serve.